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While restoration work continues, Christiansburg Institute installs digital exhibit

 This online photo is part of a digital exhibit by the Christiansburg Institute, Inc describing the history of slavery in Montgomery County.
This online photo is part of a digital exhibit by the Christiansburg Institute, Inc describing the history of slavery in Montgomery County. (WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 5:37 PM EDT
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While a local non-profit works to restore a historic local building, it's moving parts of that local history online.

The

is working to restore the Edgar A. Long building. It's one of the last remaining structures of the Christiansburg Industrial Institute: the first school built for southwest Virginia's freed slaves.

While work continues there they're moving also to an online space, thanks to COVID-19, to show off part of the collection to educate the community.

Director Chris Sanchez said Monday what they've assembled so far in this online exhibit is less than one percent of the artifacts they want to someday display in the Long building.

"We're really hoping people can get a clearer and more truthful understanding of the history here," Sanchez said. "And also it will, maybe you know, excite and inspire people to continue doing that legwork and that research and asking these hard questions."

Sanchez said from the beginning, CI became a space for learning and environment. The online exhibit was curated by Sanchez and the team's public historian. A lot of the photos, Sanchez said, are a part of the archives at the Christiansburg Institute Museum and Archives as well as some held at the Montgomery County Museum.

In the current climate, Sanchez said it's a small step toward exploring history truthfully and as a community.

This Friday, Downtown Blacksburg Incorporated is hosting a Black Lives Matter fundraiser which will support the Christiansburg Institute. A portion of proceeds from various businesses will go to support their efforts at restoration and education in the Long building and online.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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